To start with, who is a “burger” by the Ghanaian understanding? Mind you, it is not the chicken or the beef burger junk foods that we purchase, or eat, from, McDonalds and Burger King restaurants but a Ghanaian resident abroad.
How are these Ghanaians often perceived by their colleagues or compatriots back home when they return to Ghana on holiday? They are wrongly, and I repeat, wrongly, said to be no longer sociable; they blank their once school friends, known friends or acquaintances when they come into contact with them. In a nutshell, they are accused of ignoring the people they once used to be friends with or knew.
From my own personal experiences and a nasty insinuation once made about me by someone who was never known to me, I shall say Ghanaian burgers are oftentimes perceived wrongly by their compatriots back home.
Yes, some burgers may have a chip on their shoulder and may behave disgustingly but most of us are down to earth and do remember where we came from hence remaining humble, approachable and sociable despite our number of years of stay in the Whiteman’s land.
Let me recount some experiences to home in the points I am trying to make in disproving the fact that the generalisation of all Ghanaian burgers being anti-social when they return home to come into contact with old friends is false.
On three separate occasions, I had come into contact with my previous girlfriends that I could honestly not remember them even if I had been given a million years to attempt to put a name to their faces or to figure out if I had ever set eyes upon them. Two had put on weight and one had shrunk a bit. However, all three had become ten times more beautiful with a change in their skin colour, hairdo and mannerism.
It took them themselves to let me know who they were. I would be standing there agape at their beauty, disclosure and how I could not in a million years remember who they were until they identified themselves.
What would make me look stupid is when they ask, don't you know me, and can’t you remember me? I would say, no, I am sorry, can you please tell me who you are? Luckily for me, none of them got offended but introduced themselves.
If I had passed them by when I saw them, they might have thought I was ignoring them because I had returned from abroad and was looking down upon them or they were no longer my class but inferior. However, that was completely not the case. I genuinely could not remember them and once you are not familiar with a person, you cannot relate to them in the same manner as you would relate to a relative or a known friend.
For the fact of not being able to recognise certain people because of long absence from home or from them, a certain woman that I claim to be completely unknown to me made an outrageous insinuation about me.
It is a normal practice that in my town, like most towns and villages in the Ashanti region when a family member dies, we go searching for accommodation for sympathisers who will come to mourn with us on the day or during the entire duration of the funeral. I happened to accompany one of my relatives living in the town to a house in the hope of securing some accommodation for our visitors.
We greeted the people we found in the house. As we proceeded to speak to the head of the family or the owner of the house who was sitting metres away from the people we had just greeted, I could overhear a lady say, although in the Twi language, “If your mother had not died, would you ever come to my house to greet me? Now that your mother is dead and you are looking for a place to accommodate your visitors you have come to my house to greet me”. Those with her to whom she made that sarcastic remark about me broke into laughter. I kept my cool and pretended as if I never overheard her. The good thing is although we were assured of some rooms being available for us on that day as requested, my family ended up not sending any of our visiting mourners to the house.
Yes, I would not have gone to her house to greet her because Kumawu is not such a small town that one can know every inhabitant or visit every house to greet everybody on their return from abroad to Ghana on holiday or to attend a funeral of a loved one.
The woman who was mocking me could know me but not that very much for me to visit her at home to greet her. I never knew her nor could I recognise her as a familiar face. It wasn’t only me or my family that goes out looking for a place for their visiting mourners on the death of a family member but it is the ongoing practice in the community.
If I could not remember my own previous girlfriends, how could I remember that person even if I knew her let alone, not ever realising to know her?
This wrong perception about “burgers” must stop. If you see a former friend who has returned from abroad, please do approach them without just assuming for the fact that he/she has returned from overseas, therefore they may pretend not to know you or ignore you if you approach them. Just go to them and if they do as you suspect, then you will have every reason to accuse them of whatever your mind tells you to. Until then, do not accuse them falsely collectively. As all fingers are not equal, so are all “burgers” not of the same good or bad character.
All “burgers” are not the same so please do not paint them with the same brush.